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Online friends 2

I want to thank everyone for answering the last question; I started to post replies, and as usual, ran out of space, so I'm spilling things over into a second post.

I should make clear, here, that I don't consider it impossible to have online friends -- only that, as athenais said, I don't think it can achieve the multiple layers I look for in a close friendship. It has to go "live" at some point or it remains limited.

I also agree with whatemluv said (and thought it a very elegant way of stating same) The online thing is a wonderful way of meeting people and creating very focused discussions etc., but I think real, true friendship is too multi-faceted to maintain in cyberspace alone.

and last, lnhammer said: The past couple years, I've been slowly defictionalizing several friends I'd only known online. There's still a fair number, though, of strong aquaintances I only e-known.

All of these are points I think I'm about to address -- which is to say, I'm about to meander off the edge and around it a bit.

Reading is about the text, for me. This doesn't trivialize the online experience, or rather, it isn't intended to -- if anything, I mean the opposite. Reading is what started me on the long road to what I actually do with my life; it was, and remains, an intensely personal activity, in which the space between the text and the reader has a singular focus and intensity. It's stronger when what I'm reading is fiction, but it's strong regardless.

Some of the fanfic discussions spill into this, in a way that I'm sure they weren't meant to, because in some sense, what I read, how I experience what I read, is mine. This doesn't mean that I have an interest in writing anything at all about real people, but I think lnhammer's use of the word "de-ficitionalizing" was very apropos, if possibly unintentionally so. To some level, when I'm dealing with text, my relationship is with the text itself, and in an oddly amorphous way, secondarily with the writer.

I'm aware of this. When I was on GEnie, I was in fact so aware of this that my speaking voice, my "me" voice if you will, seldom filtered out into public discourse -- I was trying to speak clearly, to get the text of the message across, and as I knew I had no real ability to respond to the responses of the silent lurkers, I wanted to make my posts as bullet-proof as possible, where in this case, bullet-proof meant inoffensive. Not that I mind giving offense when it's merited, but rather, that I wanted to be certain I didn't give offense where it wasn't.

Because I was -- at that time -- so cautious in public posting, I was aware that my voice was distinctly different from my voice; that the text of the message was not delivered in the casual way I would normally deliver it (for one, less colourful language; for two a lot less gesticulating, which I tend to do at high speed, and for three, I speak really, really quickly in real life).

One thing I loved about the internet was the ability to have very focused discussions with like-minded people. Some of the things that fascinate me bore many, many people to death -- but in venues where e-communities gather, there's much less likelihood of this happening, because people tend to gather around mutual interests. Out of mutual interests like this, I did follow up in real life, I did make phone calls, I did have people come and visit me. My online-based friendships grew multiple layers when discussions wandered out of the realm of the focused topic and into more mundane things -- children, job stress, writing stress, family, other interests.

It's true that I don't see most of the friends who I initially met online all that often, usually for reasons of geography; it's also true that I've seen them at so many conventions or other separate gatherings, that I've built a sense of history with them, and that I do value them and consider them friends.

But regardless of the intensity of discussion online -- or perhaps even because of it -- I don't consider online-only to be entirely real; I consider it to be textual, with all that that implies. It can be intense, and personal in ways that only reading is -- but at the same time, I'm conscious of me, the text, and at the other end, someone who is interpreting themselves, filtering themselves, just as I do and did. I can understand how people feel like they're falling in love because of my reaction to and relation with text, with words, but I can't see taking that intensity and preserving it outside of the domain of text without a lot of other steps in between.

I expect that the online people I write to will be different in real life. I often expect them to bear little resemblance to what I read of their words online. I expect that they will find that I'm different, although, aside from manners (mine are, sadly, much better online), I can't predict how.

I don't need to meet people to value what I find online, and to prize it very, very highly -- but I don't have a word for what I do find online that doesn't somehow involve 'fictionalizing', the opposite of the de-fictionalizing that lnhammer mentioned previously. The sense of community is both personal and profound -- but at a remove, I'm not sure how much I'm reading into it and how much is already there, if that makes sense.


Comments

( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
stakebait
Dec. 15th, 2004 04:56 am (UTC)
It does make sense, though it always disconcerts me to meet people and find that they don't match up with their online personas -- that we're better online friends than we are off. I tend to expect that, no matter what else will be there in person that I didn't expect, the stuff I value online must be in there somewhere, and it's disconcerting to realize that it may be, but not in a way that I can access.

I have some people I consider friends, and not just acquaintances, who are online-only, but I don't know about close or best friends. Though I've definitely had romantic relationships develop online with little in person interaction beforehand, or some in person interaction, but none romantic. Something about the email medium allows for a greater intimacy of thought without self consciousness. So that when we meet again we can skip some of the more awkward in person steps, take some communion of thought for granted, and be able to use that to bring communion of action into alignment.
msagara
Dec. 16th, 2004 12:50 am (UTC)
It does make sense, though it always disconcerts me to meet people and find that they don't match up with their online personas -- that we're better online friends than we are off. I tend to expect that, no matter what else will be there in person that I didn't expect, the stuff I value online must be in there somewhere, and it's disconcerting to realize that it may be, but not in a way that I can access.

This is a terrific way of putting it; thanks. I think this happens a lot -- I can think of two people who were pretty much exactly what I expected when I finally met them in person.

Something about the email medium allows for a greater intimacy of thought without self consciousness.

I think it goes back to text. There's not a lot of point to email if you aren't going to say anything -- but in person, people have figured out a hundred different ways to not say anything (where people in this case, sadly, does not include yours truly).
rachelmanija
Dec. 15th, 2004 05:55 am (UTC)
I think my RL self is fairly congruent with my online persona-- people who knew me online first and in person later have said the only thing that really surprised them was my voice, which I think people expect to be lower. But then I talk fairly frequently about moderately personal things, so it's not going to surprise anyone that, say, I'm a leftist or a slob or five feet tall.

Most of the people I've met in RL have been pretty much what I would expect from their online persona, though I have had a few cases where, like someone said here, I couldn't access whatever it was that I liked online (if it was ever really there.) And I can think of a couple people whose online personas are bland or annoying but who are terrific in RL.

In regard to close online friendships, I once had a fairly close friendship which was conducted almost entirely over the phone-- this is unusual for me as I hate the phone, but in this case it began as a coast-to-coast business relationship, and we only met in RL recently. I've met all my closest friends in person, but there are people who are quite dear to me who I haven't ever met because we live too far apart. I wouldn't say they're my best friends, but then pen-pals rarely are; still, they're closer than a lot of RL not-so-close people.

That's not even getting into friendships which began in RL and are now conducted online or over the phone because someone moved.
msagara
Dec. 16th, 2004 12:52 am (UTC)
And I can think of a couple people whose online personas are bland or annoying but who are terrific in RL.

I can think of dozens of people of whom this is true, oddly enough. Many of them don't feel they have anything to say, absent the personal which they're not inclined to share; they don't have that problem in real life, but I'm assuming that's because they can accurately gauge interest, and feel more confident in it.
dancinghorse
Dec. 15th, 2004 06:05 am (UTC)
There's one aspect of online life that can be significant for those of us with disabilities. For me, real-life contacts are often difficult especially in groups, because I can't hear so much of what goes on. People whose speech is too fast or slurred or indistinct for me in realtime come clear in print, and I don't have to struggle to understand them. Some friendships wouldn't happen in realtime because I can't understand a word they say--I long ago developed a reflex of smiling, nodding, and escaping as soon as I can rather than press them repeatedly to speak up, move their lips, slow down--but they can happen online.

When you miss two-thirds of what comes through, being able to get it all is a godsend.

Yes, I do enhance the experience with real-life contacts, but online contact for me, much of the time, is more "real" because I'm not impaired or disabled there--I actually have an advantage in that I have to process data almost exclusively visually anyway, so seeing it rather than hearing it seems perfectly natural.

As for people playing personas--they do in real life, too. They just have to work harder in more directions. Some people are no more "real" face to face than they are in print.
sdn
Dec. 15th, 2004 02:27 pm (UTC)
i bet elisem could speak to this, too.
msagara
Dec. 15th, 2004 03:30 pm (UTC)
Yes, I do enhance the experience with real-life contacts, but online contact for me, much of the time, is more "real" because I'm not impaired or disabled there--I actually have an advantage in that I have to process data almost exclusively visually anyway, so seeing it rather than hearing it seems perfectly natural.

As for people playing personas--they do in real life, too. They just have to work harder in more directions. Some people are no more "real" face to face than they are in print.


All very good points, and points that I -- to my embarrassment -- was really thinking about while muddling my way through my own reaction to the initial comment, and my reactions as well to online interactions over the years.

With you, for instance, I know better than to do the "no, wait, this is long email, I'll just pick up the phone and call", which I would otherwise do given long years of contact.

And, fwiw, that's how almost all of my jumps from online interaction to phone and eventually real life interaction started -- with my impatience <wry g>.
msagara
Dec. 15th, 2004 03:44 pm (UTC)
Oops, I forgot to add:

As for people playing personas--they do in real life, too. They just have to work harder in more directions. Some people are no more "real" face to face than they are in print.

This is absolutely true. I think it's easier to spot in real life -- as you say, someone has to work harder and in more directions -- but in my case, I wasn't so much thinking of "playing personas" when I was thinking of how we filter ourselves for public consumption; I was thinking of ways in which we try to make ourselves more clear the first time we lay out words/text, and the ways in which that alters perception of who we actually are.

In real life, I'll state something I hold as truth quite baldly. I will often state it too minimally, and will have to go back and explain what I meant -- but in real life, people tend to look at me as if only half of my brain is engaged with all of my mouth, so I know at that point that I've fluffed it. And I'm in a position at that point to make it clearer.

I'm only in that position online if someone asks; if no one does, there can be countless lurkers for whom I wasn't clear, and I'll be less aware of it than in real life, expect as a potential confusion.

And this frequently makes me come across as different online than off; it's not that I'm attempting to appear to be different, just that I'm aware that I am.

Fumbling here.
dancinghorse
Dec. 15th, 2004 04:26 pm (UTC)
I.e. you're more self-conscious online?
msagara
Dec. 15th, 2004 04:32 pm (UTC)
I.e. you're more self-conscious online?

Self-conscious denotes nervous -- to me -- and I wouldn't say that I'm more nervous, only more certain that I'm unlikely to come across clearly unless I work at it, smoothing out some of the edges and making things more clear than I might otherwise do in person.

It's not about being liked, for instance; if someone dislikes what I say, they dislike it, and I'm not about to change my opinion or statement in order to gain a stranger's acceptance, since I'm unlikely to do that even for a friend; it's more about being disliked for what I actually said, or meant to say.

I'm more careful that what I say is what I meant to say when I'm online -- because I don't get that instant "do you have a brain?" reaction online that I'd get offline; there's no instant chance to correct myself. Also, I know I talk quickly -- which I know is bad :/. This is automatically corrected for online. It's the sum of little things, not all of which I'm aware of, but some of which I am, which make me certain that if you've only met me online, you probably expect something different when you meet me in person.
dancinghorse
Dec. 15th, 2004 04:45 pm (UTC)
It doesn't mean nervous to me, it means strongly or even painfully aware of yourself. In fact you just defined it.

Whereas when I'm online, I just yam what I yam. I can always clarify if someone asks. If they don't ask and still wonder, well, that's not my problem.

In person I worry more because I'm missing so much of what goes on around me. I never can be sure my response is appropriate. Many times people babble at me and I can't understand a word--but if I ask them to repeat, they get impatient or upset and/or it gets tedious to ask every few seconds. So I end up avoiding them. Some of the coolest people in sf are no-fly zones for me because they talk too fast or don't move their lips or have heavy beards.

So I'm more self-conscious in RL--of necessity. Online you may not get expressions and such, but I can tell you expressions aren't much good if all you hear of the words are distorted vowels.

Online life is a godsend for the hearing-impaired. In fact many of the deaf avoid it because it eliminates the difference that creates their culture. They aren't disabled online--and disability defines them.
msagara
Dec. 15th, 2004 05:06 pm (UTC)
In person I worry more because I'm missing so much of what goes on around me. I never can be sure my response is appropriate. Many times people babble at me and I can't understand a word--but if I ask them to repeat, they get impatient or upset and/or it gets tedious to ask every few seconds. So I end up avoiding them. Some of the coolest people in sf are no-fly zones for me because they talk too fast or don't move their lips or have heavy beards.

This makes sense -- and I plead general incompetence in the talk-too-fast category :/. If people step on my feet and remind me, I stop -- but people shouldn't have to step on my feet.

One question, though: Do you feel that you know people better from online discourse than you do in real life? I'm curious to what extent the subverbal plays a role in familiarity & friendship.

Online life is a godsend for the hearing-impaired. In fact many of the deaf avoid it because it eliminates the difference that creates their culture. They aren't disabled online--and disability defines them.

This came up in an entirely different context; a friend's wife lost her hearing literally over the course of about 4 hours one evening. There are all kinds of possibilities for what caused this, but it didn't change the fact or the prognosis. She volunteered/signed up for an implant program run out of Sunnybrook hospital, and over the course of two years has learned to retrain her hearing synapses so that she can, once again, hear.

And she said that the process -- which is constantly being refined -- is highly controversial among the deaf community. In her case, at seventy, she didn't have any of the cultural continuity. Have you heard about these? Do you have any take on them?
celledhor
Dec. 15th, 2004 07:07 pm (UTC)
I tend to have more trouble in the online arena of communication as so much of my communication style tends toward the non-verbal. That isn't to say non-vocal, just that there is usually so much more than the words involved. I use a lot of vocal inflections and my eyes tend to dance. It means my words can come across as pretentious online where I haven't gained competence in conveying subtlety & insinuation in print.

I try to be very selective of my choice of words both in print and in RL but I can add so many more layers when speaking. Unfortunately, the flip side of that is that I "hear" written words as well. When I read I have a voice with inflection that I put to the written words. It changes for each person and doesn't generally develop for a few paragraphs but it is there.

-Digression-
That's part of why I read so much. I see and hear everything that is put into print and even much of what isn't. Landscapes bring their own background noise and smell that I am aware of as I read in the image constructed by my mind's "eye". This is so ingrained that when I read aloud my voice changes subconciously for each character in the story. I could omit the "said character A" part of the sentence and the audience still knows who was speaking. It happens even when I try not to.
-End Digression-

Fortunately, most of my online contacts are people that I met in RL first and so the mental voice is fairly accurate in that I can put together some of what isn't being said. Those few others I interact with online tend to be authors whose work I have read and so feel able to draw some general conclusions because of the differences between their "story voices" and their online personas. However, I still have a very strong desire to meet people face to face because communication is so much more than just the words involved. Since I fill in the 1001 other things anyway, I like to meet people to make sure I have filled in the "blanks" as it were correctly.
aveareya
Dec. 15th, 2004 04:35 pm (UTC)
This is exactly where I feel the translation of a person will be lost. Lost in the editing actually. You can't edit yourself during conversation. Rewrite what you just said so that it is clearer or more clever. Which happily can make you sound more clever, but unhappily I still think much passion can be lost. And for developing friendships, to come across as more clever in writing will possibly lead people to feel that you were trying to be someone you are not once they really meet you - when in fact you just no longer have the ability to backspace.
msagara
Dec. 16th, 2004 12:56 am (UTC)
This is exactly where I feel the translation of a person will be lost. Lost in the editing actually. You can't edit yourself during conversation.

One of the things I liked about my struggling attempts to learn to read Japanese was the fact that you can edit yourself in conversation; you can sort of watch how the other person is possibly reacting to where they think the sentence is going, and then change the verb, change the declension or the politeness level or the tense, and put a different spin on everything that came before it.

I think that we edit in different ways in real life. I don't tend to edit for clever, because I worked for many, many years with andpuff, and you don't get anyone who's more off-the-cuff clever than she is.

I do tend to edit for comprehension, and sometimes for boredom level -- when I'm not in that hyper-focused over-excited phase, which would more correctly be called monologue than dialogue. Speaking with passion is fine -- but when the person you're speaking to is clearly not getting the first attempt at translating that passion into something clear, it's fairly easy to switch analogies, metaphors, or examples. It's a more fluid way of editing, in that you can't retract what you said, or delete it entirely -- but you can revise it after the fact by shoring it up or make it sharper, where necessary.

And I did get your email, and am horribly behind in email, sorry :/.
aveareya
Dec. 16th, 2004 03:44 pm (UTC)
I have a couple of slightly disjointed responses to this one.


First, I think that because I edit what I write as I go, I think that at least some of my personality will be lost, because some spontaneity is lost.


Second, I think you are absolutely right and we do have ways of editing in real life conversations - it isn't something I've thought of before - but it's true, we do change how we go about saying things to people depending upon their interaction with us.

Third, and connected to the previous - in cases like this question you've posed, where I really did not have a solid opinion before you asked the question, I would usually form my opinion as a conversation progressed. This is a little more difficult for me in written forum for a couple of reasons - one, I am actually a little self conscious of over posting. Two, when you are forming your ideas and opinions as you go - not only does it seem easier to explain, you also don't have the drawback of someone being able to quote your contradictions back at you. Or worse, noticing your contradictions, but not bringing them up so you can say - yes, but you changed my mind on that. Not sure if this makes sense.

And absolutely no worries on the email - between your own writing, family and holidays, I didn't actually expect to get one back. I really appreciate the notice though.
(Anonymous)
Dec. 15th, 2004 01:51 pm (UTC)
I do agree that on-line is textual. Or rather it used to be textual. In the current crop of programs there are so many voice and image options that text in many cases been somewhat devalued. Not a great development in my books but things do keep on evolving.
sdn
Dec. 15th, 2004 02:28 pm (UTC)
i like getting to know people through reading their words online, but for the friendship to become "real," we need to talk to each other and/or see each other.

it's like meeting a penpal.
lnhammer
Dec. 15th, 2004 02:47 pm (UTC)
The word was not at all unintentional, for all those reasons (but with Judy's caveat about F2F personas).

I'm told I come across as shorter OL than in RL.

---L.
dancinghorse
Dec. 15th, 2004 04:27 pm (UTC)
ROFLMAO!
lnhammer
Dec. 15th, 2004 05:38 pm (UTC)
Been told that several times, actually.

Meant to add that I deliberately craft my OL persona as similar to one of my RL personas — what I think of as public gathering mode with privacy locks on. And I try to type as I talk (or at least, as I hear myself talk) which as it turns out has helped my dialog writing quite a bit.

---L.
thecityofdis
Dec. 15th, 2004 02:56 pm (UTC)
Once I've spoken to real-life friends online as well, I usually notice huge discrepancies - people come across as angrier online, edgier, more pretentious. (I'd imagine this is very true of me, as well.) And people that I know in real life, I tend not to like online.

The opposite is, thankfully, not true.

I'm not quite sure how that factors in to your post, but I felt it did. So, yes. I have spoken.
msagara
Dec. 16th, 2004 01:00 am (UTC)
Once I've spoken to real-life friends online as well, I usually notice huge discrepancies - people come across as angrier online, edgier, more pretentious. (I'd imagine this is very true of me, as well.) And people that I know in real life, I tend not to like online.

The opposite is, thankfully, not true.

I'm not quite sure how that factors in to your post, but I felt it did. So, yes. I have spoken.


I think it does factor into the post; it's the part of personality that's lost or flattened in translation. Oddly enough, I think I probably come across as angrier off-line than online, but I'm told that your case is the more common one.

I tend to 'hear' my real life friends when I read their posts, so the change in their voices from spoken word to clear text goes over my head.

Otoh, when I've spent a long, long time in email exchanges, I can find accents disconcerting because I a) love the sound of them and b) never read written words as if they were accented, unless they're spelled in a way that forces that reading.
prettyarbitrary
Dec. 15th, 2004 04:45 pm (UTC)
The sense of community is both personal and profound -- but at a remove, I'm not sure how much I'm reading into it and how much is already there, if that makes sense.

I think it makes sense. A problem with online-only interaction is that you can read into text in ways that the author didn't intend. Vocal inflection carries a lot of weight in face-to-face conversations. It's our primary way of conveying sarcasm, irony, and sympathy, for example. If the inflection is missing, especially in text that acts as a dialogue, we tend to provide our own guesses as to what was 'meant by that.'

Some writing styles are more open to this treatment than others, but generally in an online relationship, it means that you can't be sure how much of the other person's personality you're imagining. Or, how much of the other person's personality is actually you.

Is that what you mean?
msagara
Dec. 15th, 2004 04:52 pm (UTC)
Some writing styles are more open to this treatment than others, but generally in an online relationship, it means that you can't be sure how much of the other person's personality you're imagining. Or, how much of the other person's personality is actually you.

Is that what you mean?


Yes, with the addenda that sometimes what you imagine has a force and effect that you otherwise might not find.

There are also things that people are willing to write about in ways that they would be more reticent to just speak about in social gatherings, for a variety of reasons, and I become deeply attached to the writings, and through them, at one remove, the writers, because of this.

Recent example:

http://www.thecorpuscle.com/2004/12/how_to_live_wit.html

Which is an excellent post on the topic of grieving, which is so seldom covered in real life.
zhaneel69
Dec. 15th, 2004 09:55 pm (UTC)
I agree with much of you've said & John Scalzi said in his post.

For the friendship to solidify I need a physical meeting. Even only one. But something.

I am well aware that online is only a facet of who I am carefully controlled.

Zhaneel
(Anonymous)
Dec. 17th, 2004 05:36 am (UTC)
Some of the fanfic discussions spill into this, in a way that I'm sure they weren't meant to, because in some sense, what I read, how I experience what I read, is mine.

I've never had this experience. I have had powerful responses to text, but I've never any sense of ownership of that text or even that response.

To me, the text is a kind of loan (even if I paid for the book). I enjoy the hell out of it while I'm reading (hopefully) but once I'm done, it's not really mine anymore. Sure, the book is sitting on my shelf and I could pick it up anytime and try for the response again, but I never do. Besides, everyone else with seven bucks in their pocket could be enjoying that same text.

I enjoy driving a car, too, but I don't feel any ownership toward the rentals we sometimes get.

Thanks for this discussion. It helps me understand (among other things) fan fiction much better.

Harry Connolly
msagara
Dec. 17th, 2004 02:23 pm (UTC)
Some of the fanfic discussions spill into this, in a way that I'm sure they weren't meant to, because in some sense, what I read, how I experience what I read, is mine.

I've never had this experience. I have had powerful responses to text, but I've never any sense of ownership of that text or even that response.


It's the response itself that's mine, if you will; a better word in this particular case would be unique. The response exists between the text that someone else put down and my ability to read and comprehend it. Non-fiction in theory should be studied all of one way, should be understood clearly and without prejudice -- but it isn't, and we all take different things out of it.

My understanding of the text occupies that space between what was written and my reading of it. It's that part that I own: the response. Because it's unlikely to be anyone's else's. In a like fashion, I assume that any reader's respone to text is unlikely to be exactly like any other reader's response -- I've learned this the hard way over time. If no two writers work in exactly the same way to come up with their stories/novels/poems, etc., it's also true -- but often less obvious -- that no two readers read in exactly the same way.

I don't own my reader-response, however, in a MINE MINE MINE sense, but in a "who else would possibly want to" sense; as I said, unique might be a better word -- and it would apply to any reader, in my universe.

In the context of this discussion, that's all that meant; but it occurred to me that in the context of the wider-ranging fanfic discussions, the concept of that reaction could be applied to even the way in which we read online text of people we've never met and don't otherwise know, in any any other environment, because the relationship at that point is entirely textual, and therefore subject to ... that particular reader subjectivity that graces us all when we read.

To me, the text is a kind of loan (even if I paid for the book). I enjoy the hell out of it while I'm reading (hopefully) but once I'm done, it's not really mine anymore. Sure, the book is sitting on my shelf and I could pick it up anytime and try for the response again, but I never do. Besides, everyone else with seven bucks in their pocket could be enjoying that same text.

The text itself, to me, is inviolate <wry g>. I would not rewrite someone else's text. Actually, not even in my post reading haze (that would be the one in which the ending of a book would make me see, you know, red) do I have that desire, and if I'm reading and I'm picking up the adjective-killing pencil of death, I'm also... finished reading. Which means the book goes to one side.

Again, the response exists in the space between the text and the reader; it doesn't own the text itself, just the interpretation of it.

Thanks for this discussion. It helps me understand (among other things) fan fiction much better.

Harry Connolly


Okay, and now someone who's passing by, let Harry Connolly know that I've answered? Since, no LJ, no LJ notification <wry g>.
(Anonymous)
Dec. 18th, 2004 05:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks for letting me know about the response. I can't lurk quite as much as usual. Partly that's because of the holidays, and partly because my home is a bit crowded (http://webnews.sff.net/read?cmd=read&group=sff.people.lwe&art=40496) around here lately.

I did understand that it was your response that you owned, although looking at my post I can see I was, as usual, not entirely clear on that. But I don't even have ownership of that response, that exists only in my reaction to the text. To me, it still feels like a loaner gift from the author.

This is true even when I've had very strong reactions to a book, including lying awake at night worrying about the characters and thinking up ways they could get themselves out the trouble they were in. (Anybody know where I could get a life? I need one.)

Maybe it's because separating the text and my response is an intellectual process that I don't normally engage in. Too lazy, I guess.

Ah, well. I'm off to the toy store. Which my luck.
(Anonymous)
Dec. 20th, 2004 07:02 am (UTC)
Sorry, I forgot to sign that last message.

Harry Connolly.
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